Monday, December 08, 2008

Dauthat gets it; Avlon does not understand. Musings on various blog posts

Ross Dauthat has an op-ed piece at the New York Times where he defends the pro-life reaction to the continued assault by certain losers complaining that the GOP has to change (read be less pro-life) if it is to win elections. He stands with the concept that in order to win, you have to stay in the game ana not concede the field.

There have been numerous attacks on defending the pro-life position coming from former Giuliani types such as John Avlon, whose own article appears in National Review Online.

What is so interesting is that Ross reminds everyone how the other side always trots out these worn out arguments that make no sense and how the mainstream media always writes about it. I guess it is a plus that Ross got his article printed.

As for Avlon, he ignores the standard political science rules about incumbency, changes in party after eight years, the polemics of the last four years and the actual campaigns run by both candidates. He also forgets that in most elections, being pro-life is a net gain.

Obama ran a campaign based upon "hope and change" - two things that in this advertisement drenched society, the American people will always consider. Combine this "hope and change" mantra with a constant does of how bad George W. Bush and the Republicans have been over the last eight years and the ground was properly cultivated for a new approach. Add to the mix a complicit and adoring press that failed to act as a proper inquisitor except when questioning the Republican and the situation becomes more one sided. Finally add to the equation a relic of the old school, who had neither the finesse of his opponent or the youth, was not an orator nor a glad-hander, who did not raise the social issues but was saddled with what was admittedly his weak suit, and the results now seem all too predictable.

Now it seemed to me that many of the base who should have come out in favor of McCain failed to do so and may have even stayed home. Some polls seem to support that the hits McCain took form some conservative pundits and leaders lasted through the election. There are those also who say that McCain did it to himself by not mentioning the 'hot button issues of marriage and abortion, of not making it clearer that Obama was a radical on these issues and giving the liberal religious types sufficient ammunition to paint enough of a gray picture on the social issues in an effort to neutralize the message and allow people to focus on economic considerations. Perhaps they succeeded. Perhaps the churches and its leadership did not say enough. Perhaps it was a combination of all of these factors. In the end the tragic reality is that the babies continue to die.

But Here is the pro-life movement's problem in a nutshell.

We are too nice. We are afraid to remind people of the urgency of the problem for the babies who will be killed tomorrow.

We always have been and we always will be. That is except to our own. Then we unleash our pent-up wrath against the horror caused by the abortion industry and misdirect that anger toward our own.

Yet when it comes to what we in the movement have done to help people, those involved in the pro-life movement need not take a back seat to anyone.

Across the nation we have established pregnancy resource centers, pro-life groups and organizations that have done and continue to do so much. These groups are sometimes supported by sympathetic clergy, but most for the most part and most of the time are out there alone and on their own. A number of organizations think it will all happen in Washington, D.C. and they have spent their millions in the effort to gain influence. However, as the recent elections prove, it is never wise to put one's trust in princes.

An earlier post got it right. The American people do not want to think about abortion. Unless they are reminded that it is killing a child and wrong, they will not do anything about it. But keep it in the foreground in a smart and compelling way, remind them of the adverse consequences of abortion on the society as a whole, show them a better way and the American people will do the right thing - if for no other reason than they want to move on and not deal with the issue.

This means that while the end goal has and must be the change in the law, we must use the current situation to educate the public through the mass media and the Internet. We must have a serious P.R campaign to

1. remind people of the humanity of the unborn child;
2. show that abortion is not good for and does not respect the dignity of women;
3. show that abortion does not solve any problems for those involved but creates new ones;
4. show that there is a better way - a win-win - through adoption.

Abortion attacks the natural bond between mother and child. It tells the world that this special unique relationship is no big deal. Yet every woman deep down knows it is a big deal (unless their conscience has been totally seared). As a society, we have a deep seeded appreciation for the Madonna and Child. We need to reawaken that reverence for life and apply it to the current situation.
We must focus on the local level to re-energize the troops and continue our efforts to educate and change lives one baby at a time. At the same time, national groups need to give us air support by creating, funding and airing powerful advertisements that emphasize the dignity of every human person. No one has to create this wheel. VirtueMedia has some powerful spots, both for television and radio.

Then there is the whole arena of ultrasound technology. 4D ultrasound represents a great tool for teaching the country who is in the womb. And when men see who is in the womb, they are less likely to support abortion. The Internet and YouTube provide ready resources to continue to get the word out to the young people. But you and I have to be pro-active in taking the message to the streets.

During the Christmas season the image of a mother and child evokes a very deep response. We must use this emotional connection to teach the science and the truth in a way that will never leave them.

And by the way, please continue to support Arizona Right to Life for all it does to help advance the cause.

So lets see what we can do to put some urgency back in the movement. And save some lives.


At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Avlon's most illogical claim within his column is exemplified in these two quotes:

"On the opposite extreme, Gallup found that only 28 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be legal under all circumstances. Most Americans are in the middle, favoring reasonable restrictions within which a woman — not the government — has a right to choose whether she will give birth."


"The party’s proudly stated belief in expanding individual freedom is at odds with much of social-conservative policy. There is a collectivist streak that runs through social conservatism — a desire to have the government make decisions for individuals, especially on questions of reproductive and sexual freedom."

If this intention, some absurd desire to control people's "sexual freedom," really were the basis of the right-to-life movement it would deservedly be doomed to fail. (The failures have been strategic and self-inflicted, not fundamental.) But since in fact it is founded on the most LIBERTARIAN position possible -- that the most defenseless group among us requires the strongest legal protection -- his argument (like that of his former colleague Christopher Buckley) is, at best, internally contradictory, if not deliberately deceptive. Further, claiming that it shouldn't be "the government" making the decision of whether a pre-birth child should be subject to arbitrary extermination (the actual result of an abortion -- DUH!!! -- not merely the mother's avoiding having to "give birth") is in fact anarchist in its root, i.e. "might makes right." And here I naively believed that civilized society, after millenia of brutality, had transcended that sort of approved barbarism. I also thought we were a society of democratically determined laws, rather than being subject to the rulings of some secret "Star Chamber"; what a childish "boogey man" bit of paranoia....

It would also be nice if such legal abortion-on-demand advocates would at least be honest with both their readers and themselves by admitting that they simply want continued legal state sanction of their right to act in the most gravely selfish manner imaginable, rather than expressing these sorts of pseudo-intellectual calls for "moderation" on an issue that can't be compromised at its core. (I won't hold my breath for this sort of candor.)

John K. Walker


Post a Comment

<< Home